Your treatment team
Radiation therapy is a complex process. This means you’ll have a number of specialists involved in your treatment journey. They each bring a unique set of skills and special knowledge to ensure your treatment delivers maximum results with the minimum of side effects.
Here are some of the experts who’ll be working on your case and how their roles contribute to your treatment.
Medical physicists use physics and technical skills to help develop, plan and implement your treatment programme. They help to ensure that complex treatments are properly tailored for each patient and will direct quality control for every treatment plan as well as that of equipment and procedures.
Your patient care specialists are registered nurses and radiation therapists, well trained in the oncology field. They are on hand to assist the medical team, and most importantly to ensure your comfort. They’ll guide you through procedures and make sure that your pre-treatment and follow up care is as simple as possible for you to follow. They will also talk to you about potential side effects, and are on hand to address any concerns you have about your treatment.
Radiation therapists work with your radiation oncologist to plan your treatment using both your diagnostic scans and planning scans created during your first visits. They then use the complex equipment to administer your radiation according to your treatment plan.
The reception and scheduling team will welcome you to ARO and make sure you’re fully prepared for your treatment. They will also help to liaise with your health insurance provider to arrange payment for treatment, and schedule your treatments to suit your convenience, while closely aligning to the treatment plan.
Dietitians work with you to help you maintain nutrition. They monitor your weight and nutritional problems. They will help to educate you on how to improve your nutritional status before, during and after treatment.
Your treatment journey probably began with your general practitioner or “GP”. They are medical generalists and are responsible for recommending appropriate tests and specialists to help diagnose and treat conditions.
Engineers are in charge of the maintenance and repair of the radiation therapy equipment (linear accelerators) and are on hand to troubleshoot any issues that arise. Their expert knowledge means your medical team know they can trust in the accuracy of the equipment’s results and treatments.
Radiation oncologists are the doctors who oversee the care of each patient undergoing radiation treatment. They work closely with other physicians such as surgeons, medical oncologists as well as other specialists such as radiographers, as part of the multi-disciplinary cancer team, to develop and prescribe your treatment plan.
A medical oncologist specialises in treating cancer with medication. These include chemotherapy, which is the use of drugs to stop the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. They also use targeted therapy and oral chemotherapy, which is delivered in the form of a pill.
You may have been referred to your radiation oncologist by a surgeon. They specialise in the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation. A surgical oncologist may also perform biopsies (the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope).
A radiologist is a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating disease and injury by using medical imaging techniques such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), fusion imaging, and ultrasound. They may act as an expert consultant to your specialist by helping them to choose the proper testing and in interpreting the resulting medical images.
Trainee Radiation Therapists
Auckland Radiation Oncology is a training site for Otago University Radiation Therapy students. At times there may be a student present during your treatment. If you do not wish a student to be present please let us know as soon as possible.